One of the biggest shifts in American society over the last two decades has been the public’s opinion of medicinal and recreational marijuana. According to countless public opinion surveys and polls conducted around the turn of the century, Americans at large used to have a very negative opinion of the drug. They didn’t buy the research coming out about the medicinal benefits of marijuana for some patients, nor did they buy the line that the plant was less dangerous than alcohol (although that’s been proven by study after study). In general, the public believed that marijuana, in all forms, should continue to be illegal and that people caught consuming, possessing, or selling it should be charged with crimes.
Fast forward to today and things have changed a great deal. Now, the latest public opinion polls show time and time again that well over a majority of Americans believe that marijuana should not only be legal for medicinal purposes but that it should also be legal for recreational purposes. The public has come around to the reasoning that people suffering should be able to access whatever it is that’s going to make them feel better, and if that’s marijuana then so be it. They also don’t believe that people should be going to jail just for possessing or consuming marijuana, provided that they’re doing it in a private space, they’re over the age of 21, and there aren’t any children present. Americans at large now believe that marijuana should be legal, and they’ve said as much at the polls. 26 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, with eight of those states legalizing its use for recreational purposes as well. The public has changed its mind, and it doesn’t look like this new public perception is going to change anytime soon.
That’s why it’s safe to assume that recreational marijuana is going to be legalized in even more states in the coming years. As was just stated, 26 states in the country have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. That’s always the first step towards legalizing it for recreational purposes as well. One should expect to see many of those states voting on recreational marijuana soon, and if the past is any indication of the future, the majority of those states will pass recreational marijuana as well.
Thus, one should expect to see even more recreational cannabis dispensaries popping up all over the country. States like New York and Connecticut are likely to pass legalization soon, and even more states are likely to follow. In states like Oregon, where recreational marijuana has been legal for a couple of years now, there are hundreds of recreational dispensaries like DoubleTREE all over the state. They provide huge tax revenue for the state, something that government officials in other states are keeping a close eye on. Also, studies in states like Colorado have shown that since legalization, marijuana use among teens has actually gone down, something that everyone wants to see. Given the immense upside and no real downside, it’s not hard to believe that more states will soon legalize the plant for recreational purposes.